************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shaman and Boundaries - Part Two

(continued from last post)

With all the cards in place, I turn to the page about the first one I drew: The Shaman of Purification. It sits on The Journeyer card to remind me that this card reflects what I can learn from my own inner guidance.

Since it is the first Shaman card drawn, it is related to the first of five “indicators” about the Cave of Shamans. I’m a little startled to see that the first Shaman indicator is “Boundaries”. “Cleansing the spirit.”

Since this is the first card I drew, I read the first of seven interpretations. 

“Purification means getting rid of stale ways of thinking that can hold us back. Entering any new phase of development requires us to reassess what has gone before and, where necessary, purge ourselves of attitudes that are no longer appropriate. The Shaman of purification is with us whenever we embark on something new, helping us to prepare for what lies ahead by cleansing the soul and imbuing us with fresh purpose. “

I close my eyes and feel as if this guide is with me, holding my hand.
The second card is meant to help me understand what my spiritual guide – who I think of as C - is telling me. Since this is the first card from the Cave of Dancers, I look up the first indicator: “Home”.

The idea of “going home” has been in my head for weeks. It is related to the very little one inside. She never felt as if she was home after we moved out of the apartment and into the big house. I thought about how this relates to my "Spritual Guide", and thinking of “home” in connection with C felt good. She is helping me find my center, that welcoming home we all carry inside us.

Since this was the second card drawn, I read the second interpretation:  “Weakened Resolve”. I puzzled over this, wishing I could deny any weakening of my resolve about this issue.

Well… I have been fluctuating on this, a lot. I feel as if I have to do this, but I can’t seem to make myself push forward... and I don't know why.

“The Dancer of Frustration [...] encourages us to look beyond the obvious and find a new path that may lead us to greater joys and richer rewards than the original path we sought to take. The moment we can visualize that new path, is the moment we can begin to move forward again.”

 Is there anything C been encouraging me to do that I'm not doing?
I remember the comment C made when I first announced that I was not cutting ties with my parents:

“What you are considering does seem to be in alignment with your deepest self, with spirit. It is hard, and it is of the core of your being.”

That can't be it.

The last line in the book, about visualizing the new path, suddenly clicks in a new way. Other things C has said begin to fall into place.

“Assure all parts of you that you are not going to say anything to your parents until all are ready.”


You have time.”

I have been in a hurry to get through with this unpleasantness, but suddenly I know that’s not the way it has to be. I have a reprieve, a couple of months while my parents are in Florida for the winter. I can use this time to ready myself.

I take a moment to look inside, at the eight-year-old and the very little one who have been so present lately. The eight-year-old has begun to integrate, but there is a big trust issue I’ve been ignoring. I think I understand it now.

“I won’t rush you,” I tell them. “I promise. I won’t do anything until you’re ready.”
I smile a little as I think that maybe C is a little frustrated with my constant, frantic pushing forward.

How many times has she told me it’s okay to take a break?

The three cards I’ve placed in the center represent how the question relates to various aspects of my life right at this moment. I feel much calmer as I read about the next card.
The Shaman of Reflections is the second Shaman card drawn. The corresponding indicator is: “Divisions”. Since it’s the third card I drew, I look up the third interpretation.
“Acknowledging the Truth.
 The Shaman of Reflections teaches us to look in the mirror and be challenged by what we see. We may encounter a person, or a situation, or an aspect of our life that we have hidden from. We may need to take heed and change paths accordingly.”

Again, this seems to be begging me to take more time to reflect.
I look up the appropriate indicator and interpretations for the Dancer of Joy: “Protection” and
The dancer in this image shows up a sheer, unbridled fountain of life bursting forth and transforming everything it touches. Joy enters us at moments of heightened awareness, of delight and passion, of truthfulness and hope. It carries us far above any other feeling or experience and establishes with us a core of energy that is always there to be tapped.”

Putting the words protection and happiness in one thought brings me a feeling of hope. I have a sense, as I read the passage that if I do this right, I will be able to find joy in life in a way that has always been lacking.

And... maybe I won’t only find it for myself… maybe there is also a way to bring joy to others who are so unhappy.

For all they’ve done and not done in the past, I still feel sorry for my parents. They are not happy in their lives and they search constantly for someone or something to fill the void within. It is that hole-in-the-soul emptiness that has caused them to behave in such harmful ways.

I'm afraid to hope. I'm trying very hard to let go of hope when it comes to my parents, to only count on those things I know I can control - which is really only myself. It's really impossible to give up completely.

I know I can’t do anything about them… but maybe I can find this joy for myself and if I do, it may be that it expands beyond me.

The final center card is the Hunter of Paths. Since my question and all my thoughts have been directly about finding and following the right path, this card seems most fitting.

The indicator is “Beginnings.”

This is a new beginning.

The interpretation is, “Discovering Shortcuts.”
Huh… just when I decided I’ve been rushing too much – a shortcut? Then again, if there was a shortcut, I wouldn’t feel so rushed, would I?

I reread the words "carefully choose which path to follow".
“The Hunter of Paths is depicted here leaping onto the back of a creature whose long neck gives a clear view in every direction. With this Hunter by our side, we to can enjoy that clarity of vision, and with it carefully choose which path to follow. This Hunter’s presence is a positive indicator that our instincts will guide us toward fruitful ways forward.”

So, I must look at all my options. There’s no rush. I know it will work out the way it’s meant to, and I know I have all the help and guidance I need.

The final card, The Shaman of Foresight, reflects what I can learn from Spirit. The indicator tells me that spirit is going to be guiding my “Journeys”. The interpretation is:
"Taking Advice.
The idea of being held captive strikes a chord. I was a prisoner of my own perceptions of the situation for most of my life. As a child, I had no choice, but as an adult I only thought I had no choice. Now, the choice is truly mine. I decide who to spend time with and how much time to spend with them. I decide where I will walk and when I will stay home. I am in control of my own destiny, and I have plenty of time to work through all the things I need to understand before committing to a plan of action.
Foresight enables us to find the way toward our own destiny. It takes us safely past obstacles or traps, beyond stormy seas into calmer waters. The Shaman of Foresight helps us to work on our expectations so that we are ready for whatever life throws at us. The image on this card shows the handprint enclosed in a cage: forsesight shows us how we may avoid such captivity in the first place.”
Again, the message seems to be not to rush, to be prepared, and that I am being led in the right direcdtion. I was going to try to write a first draft of that letter today, but now I know that I’m not ready. I feel much calmer and less frantic about the whole thing. When the time is right, I will right the letter, fine tune it, and then email it to my parents. I will set the appropriate boundaries with them - something I should have done years and years ago (this is an awareness I've had for a long time, which is probably part of why I feel so rushed, now) - and I will head into a new phase of my life.
A new beginning.
Having faced the possibility of never seeing my parents again, I am more comfortable with the notion of seeing them only on my terms. I only have to understand what my terms are and then I believe it will all fall into place.


Shaman and Boundaries - Part One

I’m  having a very hard time staying in my adult self, and keeping myself out of the heavy emotional angst that is obscuring the truth. I want to write the letter to my parents. I want to get a clear picture of what these boundaries should be and of how to inform my parents of my boundaries.

This morning, I sat to meditate, an attempt clear my mind of all the debris that is preventing me from this course of action. As I took deep breaths, I saw the little ones inside and consoled them, again. I promised, as C suggested in an email last night, that I would not send anything to my parents until every one of my parts felt ready.

Then, suddenly, I thought of the oracle cards. I’ve been experimenting with the Shaman Oracle cards since Christmas, trying to learn how they can work for me.

I feel as if there is guidance in drawing cards, as there is in many contemplative activities. It makes sense that when we sit quietly and listen openly we are more likely to hear what is already known in our hearts. These ultimate truths are always there, but they are often hard to hear because a cacophony of chaotic mental noise is ever-present.  

There are many ways to read cards, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of decks one could choose. My first deck – the Osho cards – were a wonderful opening for me into the world of tarot. One could assume that the spirits/angels/guides/gods are directly moving my hand to choose the proper cards. It honestly does feel that way, at times. Whatever beliefs you have or names you choose to use, if you believe in a guiding force of any kind, why not believe that it is there for you when you look for it?

If this is not something you could believe, you might instead assume that the answers I seek are drawn out through association with generalities written about the cards. It’s true that there could be infinite interpretations, much like with astrological predictions or palm reading or even biblical passages. However, I believe the inner wisdom is always there, under the surface, and for me I’ve found that drawing cards helps me tune in to that which I already know, somewhere inside.

I have fine-tuned the Shaman Oracle cards to my own needs and meditation style. The cards come with a glyph page, a “map of the Shaman’s world,” according to the book. There are five “caves” represented on the glyph page, one for each digit of the hand painted in the center. Each cave corresponds to a different aspect of life.

In my method of using the cards, I draw two cards which correspond to myself (the journeyer) and my spiritual guide (the companion). Then I begin drawing center cards. I draw a card and place it over the corresponding cave. I continue picking cards until I select a card which corresponds to a cave I’ve already covered. Consequently, I may draw only two more cards, if I draw two for the same cave, back-to-back, or I may draw up to six more if I draw one for each cave first. The final card (the repeated one) is the one which corresponds to the spirit world.

I don’t know how clear that is, but I think it will become clearer as I go through the whole process. It’s like reading the rules for a new game. It’s a lot easier (and more fun) to just play the game and figure it out as you go.

This morning, I had a hard time coming up with a specific question. The noise in my head was still very loud, even after quite a bit of quiet meditation. I knew I wanted to find out something about the letter I intend to write to my parents, but I couldn’t get a clear picture of what I wanted to know. Finally, I wrote a question on a piece of paper and placed it in my lap.


Shaman Oracle Meditation

I open the glyph page and smooth it out in front of me.

I pick up three objects: the black stone, the white stone, and the heart charm.

The white stone is a symbol of connection with God. The heart charm symbolizes connection in this world. The black stone has gradually begun to change meaning over time. Just touching it’s cool surface seems to give me a kind of inner strength. It has come to symbolize a completely integrated “me”. (This “me” in quotes is how I identify the part of me that feels most like my adult self. It is the part into which other parts are integrating – sort of the mother ship of personalities.)

To the left of the glyph, I place “The Journeyer” card. I close my eyes and pick up the black stone. It’s like holding all of me in the palm of my hand. When it warms, I place on the left of the glyph, above the card.

To the right of the glyph, I place “The Companion” card. The companion is meant to be my spiritual guide.

I am still in the early stages of understanding this method of reading, but for me, at this time, “The Companion” is C. She is the one who has opened up my spirituality, given me permission and encouragement to explore what my connection to the world and the universe is, and what it means to me.

I hold the heart charm until it’s warm, and then place it above The Companion card.

I hold the white stone, and when it feels right, I place it above the glyph.

I sit with my left hand on the hand painting on the glyph, and my right hand on the deck of cards. I read the question out loud.

 “Am I on the right path as I prepare to set these boundaries with my parents?”

With eyes closed, I hold both hands out, over the spread-out deck of cards until I feel drawn one way or another. I feel a pull to the left and slowly move my hands until I know which card to choose.

The Shaman of Purification

I place this card over the journeyer card. This card will reflect what I need to know about myself. I like that it has come from the Cave of Shaman.

Again, I hold my hands over the deck. I feel pulled to the left, again.

The Dancer of Frustration

I don’t like this card, in this position. I’m nervous about the interpretation as I place it over the companion card. The fact that it is from the Cave of Dancers feels right on… but frustration?

I clear my mind, waiting to interpret until all the cards are drawn and I can read the book. I close my eyes and again hold my hands over the deck. The next cards I draw will represent how this question affects various aspects of my life. This time I’m drawn to a card in the center.

The Shaman of Reflection

I prepare to draw another card. This one comes from the right side of the deck.

The dancer of Joy

I draw another card.

The Hunter of Paths

And another.

The shaman of Foresight

Since I’ve already covered this cave of Shamans, this will be the final card. I place it at the top, near the white stone. This will represent what I can glean from Spirit.

So, I have a total of six cards to help me determine if I’m on the right path, at this time. Since I feel most connected to the Shaman cards, I feel as if drawing three of them out of the six is a good omen. Still, I’m worried…

What is the Dancer of Frustration about?


(to be continued)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finding Authenticity

At a CoDA meeting on Tuesday night, I read something in one of the stories in the "Blue Book" which has me thinking about my current state of mind. The statement was something like:

"I used to think if I didn’t feel joyful and happy, something was wrong."

I first read this and thought, isn't there?

I have never expected every day to be rosy and cheerful, but I always thought that was the goal. Of course, no one would choose to feel sad, angry, hurt, etc. Even so, it’s interesting to realize that it is just as normal to feel those “negative” emotions as it is to feel the ones that are more pleasant.

To look at it that way is to accept that however I am at this moment truly is okay. It makes it more possible to look at my feelings dispassionately, and without judgment – which is exactly what I need to be able to do right now.

I've been dealing with things on all fronts, lately:

1.      Emotionally: Depression, a companion I've traveled with often, is back at my side.

2.      Physically: I had oral surgery to remove all my wisdom teeth, one week ago - an event which brought with it pain, anxiety, an inability to open my mouth wide enough to accommodate a spoon and several days of drug-induced fogginess.

3.      Mentally: My thoughts have been swirling around in my head for over a month, creating confusion and panic, ever since the big blow-up with my father.

4.      Spiritually: As often seems to happen, when I am in the most need I have the hardest time feeling connected, and the least inclination to look for that connection. In addition, I realized a couple weeks ago that I’ve been having some transference issues with the minister at the Unity Church I’ve been attending… and that is confusing things further.

5.      Support-wise: Because of the holidays and the surgery, I haven’t been able to attend the things that keep me on track with any kind of regularity since mid-December. I’ve missed some or all of my CoDA meetings, Writers’ Group, church services and appointments with C, and that is really taking a toll on me.  

I've decided that cutting all ties with my parents is not a course of action that suits me. At the same time, I am determined to set strong boundaries with them in order to maintain a feeling of safety.

What would these boundaries look like? Defining them, describing them, determining how to explain them to my parents, and deciding what consequences there will be if they do not respect these boundaries is about all that’s been occupying my brain. While my most adult self writes page after page, trying to get a clear picture of exactly what these boundaries will look like, there is a crying eight-year-old who is fights the whole thing, and a very little one who keeps throwing a picture of my mother - as she was when I was less than two - into my mind every time I get started on this path towards setting boundaries.

Because of these little ones, It is not possible to completely give up hope on my mother – at least not right now. Even  if I think I know all the way through me, that my mother will always be who she’s always been,  I can’t make the little ones give up hope. All I can do is offer them a substitute – me – so that’s what I’m doing. If they take my offer to reparent, that will make things easier. Many sides of me have already accepted this arrangement and I am much happier that way. I have hope that one day these other lost little ones will "come home" too. 

Monday, January 10, 2011


Ever falling,
While memory images project
Onto the dusky walls
Down and down
A desolation so deep it steals my breath
Goodbye sister
I was sure you’d never, ever leave me
But remember how you walked away
Down and down
The back steps, and right out of my childhood?
Fade now, Father
I release your familiar icon
Arms wide open, lips and eyes cast
Down and down
Away from that which will never be mine
Journey’s end calls
What of that often dreamt of escape?
Will flesh, love and lessons be buried
Down and down
Significance covered, all relevance gone?
Where is the gain?
I can't acquire anything new to the infinite
What meaning can it possibly have
Down and down
Beyond the lives and loves I understand?

Underneath it All

I have been falling for a while, and this desparation is intense. I'm working hard, pushing forward, searching for the way out.

Today, I did the following drawings as I try to understand what I really am, what this little piece of the world I live in, really is.

I give the outside world and the past so much power, but in reality they have no power unless I give it to them....


In a garland you see flowers, but you don’t see the thread. These emotions are like the flowers of a garland. Sometimes anger flowers, sometimes sadness flowers, sometimes happiness, sometimes pain, sometimes anguish. These are the flowers, and your whole life is the garland. There must be a thread; otherwise you would have fallen apart long ago. You continue as an entity – so what is the thread, the polestar? What is permanent in you?

      From Emotional Wellness
      by Osho

Do you see me?

What you view with your eyes is exactly what you expect to see, but it isn't me.

Right now, I’m so covered with emotions, I can’t even find myself. These things which grow on me appear to belong, but they are only reactions to the past, for every moment before this is the past.

Can you see how thoroughly they cover me?

They look as if they belong... they look right, because this is what you expect to see.
If you close your eyes, can you imagine what is underneath?

What would you see if you stripped away this weighty covering?

What am I? 
On what does this anger, this anxiety, this formidable grief grow?

Breathe…. Breathe… and look beyond what is really only a reflection of the outside world.

Petal by petal, remove despair as if it were a dirty garment. Tear it off... Cast it aside...

I am light.
I am color.
I am weightless and formless, so there is no need to cover anything.
There is no modesty,
no guilt,
no embarrassment.


I am not what the world made me. 
I am exactly what I'm meant to be.... and nothing can change that.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.